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Honors College

East Tennessee State University

By no later than the first semester of the junior year, Honors Scholars should have begun to choose a thesis topic and, if possible, enrolled in UHON 3008 Foundations of Research. This course is required of all University and Midway Honors Scholars and is an elective for Fine & Performing Arts Scholars and Honors-in-Discipline Scholars. UHON 3008 focuses on research skills, responsible conduct for research activities, and ETSU regulations on research and is a start to developing a plan for the thesis classes. Honors Scholars not taking the class should discuss their research methods with the Directors of their program, Departmental Coordinators or their intended Thesis Mentor. 

After choosing a topic, Honors Scholars, should schedule appointments with professors in their field of study to discuss their programs of research and opportunities for them to join faculty research teams. Scholars often interview 3 to 5 faculty before choosing a faculty mentor. For an interdisciplinary study, a scholar may choose to work with more than one professor.

In addition to the Thesis Mentor, scholars choose a Thesis Reader in their thesis discipline. Thesis Readers should be chosen at the beginning of the thesis process before submitting the Thesis Contract Form. Thesis Readers provide additional input and support during the research, are responsible for reading the final drafts of the thesis and for providing comments and suggestions. They will attend the final presentation of the thesis and sign the bound final draft of the thesis prior to submission and uploading to eThesis.

Working together, the Honors Scholar and Faculty Thesis Mentor should refine the thesis topic to one appropriate for an undergraduate thesis experience. Honors Scholars usually complete a literature review prior to settling on a final research question. Honors Scholars should plan on spending a minimum of 6 to 9 hours each week on the thesis for at least two semesters. Careful planning, diligence, patience, a sense of humor and enthusiasm are all required by the scholar for a positive thesis experience. In addition, scholars must display academic honesty and be in full compliance with ethical standards appropriate to their fields of study.

Sometimes Honors Scholars in some majors may need to complete the research prior to the senior year. Student teaching, internships, field experiences or study abroad may impact the scheduling of thesis hours and completing thesis work. Although most students complete the thesis during their senior year, there is no stipulation against finishing a thesis early. In these cases, Honors Scholars should consult with their Thesis Mentor and their program Director early.

Recommended Calendar:Junior Year

Semester II

Week 2: Consult with Program Director and/or Department Coordinator about details of the thesis process.

Week 4: Choose a Faculty Mentor.

Week 6: Develop a Thesis Prospectus.

Week 8: Begin a Literature Search and Review.

Week 9: Complete and submit a Thesis Contract form.

Week 10: Check on IRB requirements.

Senior Year

Semester I

Week 1: Meet with Faculty Mentor and develop time table for thesis completion.

Week 4: Provide Faculty Mentor with final prospectus.

Week 5: Submit study to Institutional Review Board if necessary or begin data gathering or creative work. Meet with Faculty Mentor regularly. Finalize Background of the Study, Review of the Literature (using primary literature sources) and Study Method sections of the thesis as appropriate.

Week 15: Data gathered/analyzed or creative work substantially completed.

Semester II

Week 1: Meet with Faculty Mentor and assess progress.

Week 4: Write Results, Discussion and Recommendations sections of thesis.

Week 6: Submit first draft of thesis to Faculty Mentor. Choose date and location for Thesis Presentation. Complete creative work.

Week 8: Revise thesis and submit to Faculty Mentor and Thesis Reader(s).

Week 9: Post flyers advertising Thesis Presentation unless presenting at Boland Undergraduate Thesis Symposium or other established conference.

Week 12: Present thesis in a public forum; Bind thesis and submit to the Honors College (and College or Department as appropriate); Submit thesis through eThesis process.

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